Holder: DOJ Will Fight Marriage Bans in Supreme Court
In an interview with ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Justice Department will urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court rulings overturning statewide bans on same-sex marriage. The comments come days after Utah officials announced that they will appeal the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
During a rare interview with ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Holder remarked marriage bans based on sexual orientation are discriminatory and "unconstitutional." Holder added the Justice Department will file a brief with the Supreme Court that "will be in support of same-sex marriage."
Holder stated that the brief would be "consistent with the actions that we have taken over the past couple of years."
Under Holder, the Justice Department's refusal to defend section three of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as the union of man and a woman, predates the SCOTUS Windsor v. United States decision that found parts of the act unconstitutional. Since then then, the legal efforts of the Justice Department to extend federal benefits to same-sex couples have been successful.
Last month, the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. Last week, in response to that ruling, Utah officials stated that they would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Reuters reports that a federal circuit court on Friday denied Utah's bid to further block legal recognition of about 1,300 same-sex weddings performed after the state's gay marriage ban was briefly lifted. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver, also left intact an existing temporary stay against the enforcement of state recognition of those 1,300 marriages to give Utah a chance to seek a permanent injunction from the Supreme Court. Utah's attorney general immediately vowed to do just that.
This story is part of our special report titled "Gay Marriage." Want to read more? Here's the full list.